By. Lexiii Dee
Chicago emcee JoFred sits down with Lexiii Dee for an exclusive interview.
Chicago artist Jofred is an artist I feel like everyone should start paying more attention. The emcee just recently released his long awaited debut solo project back in August and has been receiving nothing but positive feedback. I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Jofred to learn more about TULPA and more. Read below.
Who is Jofred? Introduce yourself.
I am a 24 years old Filipino American hip hop artist. I am apart of the hip hop group Chinza Fly and also on the indie label Private Stock. I do what I want. [laughs]
And you're also the self-proclaimed best Asian rapper alive right?
I am the best Asian rapper alive...yes.
When did you discover your talent of rapping?
At 11 years old. I would rap along to songs on the radio, watch MTV and BET; things like that. I started writing my own stuff around 6th grade. I just started getting into freestyling as well. I would be at the playground battling and I'd be the one winning so I guess around that time I realized I could structure words and have a flow. When I got into high school, around the age 14 or 15, I started recording. My songs started doing numbers on Myspace. That's really when I figured out I'm pretty good at this. Just seeing physically on Myspace and a large portion of my school putting me in the category of best rapper in school.
Moving forward to your solo project TULPA, how would you define it? Why TULPA?
TULPA is an entity that you create out of your mind and you envision it. For example, everyday you come home and you tell yourself that you'll lock yourself in your room for an hour and you're going to imagine a clone of yourself and just talk to it and imagine it. Eventually, that clone becomes easy to envision. You don't have to already be thinking about it because it's already there when you open the door. The entity is something you created in your mind that you envision and materialize to the world. It just reflects you as a person. Yo can fold it and mold it anyway you want it to be but that entity can grown and become its own living thing. I really wanted the project to be a reflection of myself but I also wanted it to convey parts of me that a lot of people don't know about. TULPA is basically a sense of development and allowing people to see how I have grown. The main theme is development and speaking things into existence.
I understand that you have been tweaking and reworking TULPA for about 3-4 years. Tell me what the process was like and how it has effected your view on releasing music or has it not changed?
One of the major issues I had with TULPA was timing. I always had ideas that no one else was doing and I would always find the perfect way to release it then someone would always end up doing that idea. A lot of it was about timing , the work sounding kind of date, and how I wanted to release it. The tweaking part of the music was cultural relevance. However, another part of the process was how I could get it to the people in the best way possible and I felt like I didn't have a platform. That's really the main reason why TULPA came out because I'm on Private Stock. I had a platform to put it out with a machine behind it. The process is still the same though. I am very detailed, still make a sh*t ton of music,etc.
Out of all the tracks on you project, what is your all-time favorite and why?
Problems because I rapped in a way that I have never rapped before on that track. That was the first time I ever sounded as melodic as I did. Problems was the groundbreaking track for me as an artist and as a person overall. I realized that all of this experimenting has paid off and this is the sound that I want now; this is how I want TULPA to sound. I found a balance between rapping my a** off and making simple chords. I just felt like everything just clicked. The track was the missing piece to a puzzle that I was always looking for.
Earlier you briefly brought up Chinza Fly. For those who don't know, can you tell us a little bit about them and how you became apart of the collective?
Chinza Fly started as just a group of friends who made music together. It started in high school and we always been brothers but we just decided we were all good at making music. Eventually, that led to us pursuing music professionally. We've always been a main staple in Chicago music but we're just super lowkey. There's two producer ( Rob Lyrical and Steve Pugh), an engineer (Joe Rico), and me the rapper. Our main thing is progression and trying to shift cultures.
How did the relationship with Private Stock come about?
I was just hanging out there everyday. Rob [Lyrical] was working with Ikon, who is a producer, and they would have sessions all the time. I would just come around and everybody would just play their music. The more I hung around them, the more the friendship became genuine. It just felt like family and we clicked. I officially became apart of Private Stock through Joe Rico [engineer]. I would record under his name and eventually it became like do you want to sign me because I wanted to put music out through you guys and have some type of foundation. Beyond the friendship part, they actually wanted to sign me and thought the music was good. It was just meant to be and it was super natural.
Can we expect more work from Chinza Fly as a collective or you are focusing on putting out more solo work?
I'm more so focused on solo work. I may or may not have another EP coming but I definitely have a lot of work with Chinza and there are still things we are doing as a collective right now. However, definitely expect a lot of things from Chinza Fly.
If you could get a feature from any rapper, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Anderson .Paak is technically considered a rapper. If I were to be featured on an Anderson track, that would be a dream. I am such a huge fan. I feel like the next album he drops would win a Grammy. The direction he's going in is how I would like to see me go in. I'm always trying to progress and do new things. Anderson .Paak is the same way and he is one of the best doing it right now. Just the way he structures his music and the way he chooses production is the same way I do it. I feel like he is doing it differently but I would definitely like to see how that track would sound.
You have to choose one member from Chinza Fly to join you in a dance battle. Who would you choose and why?
You already know what the answer is [laughs]. Don't play! It's Rob Lyrical because that boy can dance his a** off. He can do any dance, any style, from any era. If that boy wanted to do ballet, I'm sure he would bust em out. I would pick Rob though. Plus he's the most energetic person too.
Any last words?
I just hope that people take away from this project. Don't stop working on yourself, don't stop learning, don't stop trying to develop, and don't stop trying to do new things. Try to be the best that you can be at what it is you want to do and just do it. I just hope people can learn to reflect and know their worth. Continue to build yourself to what you want to become. Also, do expect more new music whether it be from me or Chinza Fly. Do expect a lot of cool things.
TULPA is available on Apple Music and other streaming platforms now. Stream the project below.